teachers (and consequently, their students) are helped by understanding English

diamondcutter

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Another one of our firm convictions is that teachers (and consequently, their students) are helped by understanding English when generalizations can be made at the highest possible level of language.

Source: The Grammar Book--An ESL/EFL Teacher’s Course, the second edition, Marianne Celce-Murcia and Diane Larsen-Freeman

I’d like to know if the preposition “by” should be “in”.
 

diamondcutter

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Let me change the sentence to the passive voice.

Another one of our firm convictions is that we (grammarians) help teachers (and consequently, their students) by understanding English when generalizations can be made at the highest possible level of language.

I still can’t understand the sentence. Would you please paraphrase it for me?
 

diamondcutter

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Does the author mean the people who help teachers and their students are teachers and their students themselves?
 

Tdol

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Understanding high level generalisations about English helps learners.
 

diamondcutter

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I think I got it. The agent of the verb “help” is the gerund phrase “understanding...language”.

I’d also like to know if the sentence could be rewritten like this.

Another one of our firm convictions is that teachers (and consequently, their students) are helped by understanding English through generalizations which are made at the highest possible level of language.
 

Phaedrus

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. . . teachers . . . are helped by understanding English when generalizations can be made at the highest possible level of language. [. . .]

I’d like to know if the preposition “by” should be “in”.
Let me change the sentence to the passive voice.

. . . we (grammarians) help teachers . . . by understanding English when generalizations can be made at the highest possible level of language.

The active correlate of Teachers are helped by understanding English when generalizations can be made at the highest possible level of language is either:

(1) Understanding English helps teachers when grammarians can make generalizations at the highest possible level of language.

or

(2) Understanding English when grammarians can make generalizations at the highest possible level of language helps teachers.

In (1) the "when"-clause is not part of the subject, but in (2) it is.

Both readings being rather silly (teachers of English should understand English regardless!), I agree that "by" should have been "in." This gives us:

(3) When grammarians can make generalizations at the highest possible level of language, their generalizations help teachers in understanding English.

I believe that (3) expresses the intended meaning.
 

jutfrank

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The word English is problematic for me, but I think I'm reading the whole thing differently from Phaedrus. With my parsing, the sentence is easier to understand without the word English, as:

Another one of our firm convictions is that teachers are helped by understanding when generalizations can be made at the highest possible level of language.

With this interpretation, by is fine, working to identify a by-agent.

The inclusion of the word English I interpret awkwardly like so:

Another one of our firm convictions is that teachers are helped by understanding [those cases of the use of] English when (i.e., for which) generalizations can be made at the highest possible level of language.

Perhaps I have it wrong. Could you copy some further context, diamondcutter?
 

diamondcutter

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Hi, Jutfrank.
I’m very glad to provide more context. Here it is.
46f49fc26497093e41d99ae491dceb5.jpg
 

Phaedrus

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Interestingly, Larsen-Freeman and Celce-Murcia edited the sentence in question out for the third edition of The Grammar Book (2016). In the third edition, there is a paragraph break after the sentence ending with "sentential level," and the first sentence of the following paragraph is the one beginning with "Indeed" (see below).

Larsen-Freeman.JPG
 

jutfrank

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Interestingly, Larsen-Freeman and Celce-Murcia edited the sentence in question out for the third edition of The Grammar Book (2016).

Yes, that is interesting. I wonder why they did so. Perhaps they saw it wasn't clear.
 

diamondcutter

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Hi, Phaedrus.

Thank you for proving the material from the third edition of the book.

I’d like to know whether the authors really deleted the sentence in #1 or they rewrote and placed it as the first or second qualification.
 
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Phaedrus

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Hi, Phaedrus.

Thank you for proving the material from the third edition of the book.

I’d like to know whether the authors really deleted the sentence in #1 or they rewrote and placed it as the first or second qualification.

I think they really deleted it. I have skimmed through that section in its entirety and have not seen the sentence anywhere.

If you click HERE, you will find a link that should give you a pdf of the entire introduction to the third edition. Then you can see for yourself. :)
 
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